PL Profit and Sustainability Rules, some window dressing


I’m not buying the sense of aggrievement from Everton over their 10-point deduction for failing FA Premier League Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR).  It is the harshest penalty yet given out by the League and puts Everton in the relegation zone, but they are just two points from safety and in sufficiently good form to escape the drop.  The deduction should be no more than window dressing.

Having set the bar with Everton for an honestly declared breach of spending rules, more egregious matters lie ahead for the League, where allegations of covert action to subvert their rules have been levelled against Manchester City and Chelsea.

Football (in some places) is finally waking up to the realities of financial responsibility and rule breaking.  Uefa pioneered this with their 14-year-old Financial Sustainability rules (more on this later in the week).  The European body have carried the burden on this with little help from domestic leagues, leadership from England should encourage others.

I cannot see this ever happening in Scotland.  Our top clubs are already subject to Uefa rules, which in their new form were significantly designed by Celtic, while mid-table clubs and downward see their incomes vary wildly.  It would be difficult to design a set of rules that encourages responsible behaviour at clubs which might only turnover a couple of million pounds a year.

The problem in Scotland is with one club operating near the summit which is now dependent on European income.  You would rather it was an arms-distance organisation in Europe curtailing their spending than someone at Hampden.  More on them before the weekend.

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  1. CQN is going through a bad spell I feel.


    It would seem that podium-seeking is met with more enthusiasm than actual Celtic posts!



    PS That is NO criticism of the podium guys . I know it is just a bit of fun. My main concern is the decline of the site itself.

  2. Well-informed article about a complex issue



    It was surprising that the EPL clubs agreed to their FFP regs and then seemingly stuck to them for so long. The recent stories about Chelsea don’t seem to show cheating on a big scale. City changed it all, they cheated everybody and everything on a huge scale and now they’re the biggest club in the world in terms of turnover



    But Everton weren’t even hiding in plain sight. Everybody knew this is what they were heading for but they did it anyway



    FFP wasn’t about leveling up football. Financial fair play wasn’t about fairness, it was about stopping the big clubs from going bust and blowing up the industry. Even the bloated EPL saw the need for it. The new Uefa regs are more of the same, even more control than before over spending.



    Unfortunately the SFA are too small-minded or weak or too invested in a strong “Rangers” to want to protect everyone else from the toxic fallout of a club spending well beyond its means and then going bust because of its vanity and greed.



    All we can do it carry on looking at ourselves and take care of our own business.

  3. HOT SMOKED on 21ST NOVEMBER 2023 12:18 PM



    Keep posting about Celtic. Reply to the article, bring something new and interesting to the blog,.



    I know you do, but keep doing it

  4. glendalystonsils on

    Does EUFA have any authority/influence over how the SFA implement FFP rules or is that a strictly domestic matter?


    We all know that the SFA has a conflict of interest in their oversight regarding one particular club .

  5. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    There’s not really much of a deterrent to reckless spending if clubs know that other clubs (think they) need them…..

  6. I’m something a free marketeer when it comes to football.



    The UEFA rules came about not to prevent clubs going bust, it was because the traditional financial heavyweights resented Chelsea, PSG and City emerging as credible threats to their position and they put pressure on UEFA to curb this threat.



    Had we implemented FFP in Scotland, the Huns may never have died. I’m perfectly happy to let clubs spend money, the market will always correct itself and clubs that over spend, will get their medicine.

  7. Some interesting comments…



    Rangers F C, of course did not comply with UEFA or SFA rules and regulations, which is why they were “tried” under a bespoke version of SPL rules.



    If Scottish Clubs want to compete in Europe, they will have to comply with the UEFA FSR.



    The Glasgow model is interesting as one Club spends well within their means while the other begs, borrows or steals to try to sustain competitiveness is unique.



    In a few seasons time the FSR 70% rule should apply and the relative equilibrium of the “Glasgow Giants” and the reformatted European competitions will transform our football experience.



    Looking forward to it, just wish we were an ambitious Club, hopefully, due to needs must that will happen in the near future.



    Hail Hail

  8. AN DÚN on 21ST NOVEMBER 2023 1:07 PM


    “I’m something a free marketeer when it comes to football.



    The UEFA rules came about not to prevent clubs going bust, it was because the traditional financial heavyweights resented Chelsea, PSG and City emerging as credible threats to their position and they put pressure on UEFA to curb this threat.”



    That was always the argument that the free marketeers used against the original FFP – by limiting the amount of equity investment in new clubs you could never have a newcomer challenging the hegemony of the few really big clubs. But it wasnt the reason for it, it was a by product, and it wasnt like it stopped PSG or City from doing it anyway – you’d be foolish to imagine the state-owned clubs wouldn’t work their way round it by cheating. And Chelsea had already won the CL by the time FFP came into effect and were committed to being run sustainably.



    It was about Platini’s somewhat simplistic view on football finances and his commitment to having a more sustanably run industry. PSG and City and to a lesser extend the American owned clubs had different goals to the tradional large clubs, sports washing or financial returns before trophies and glory. They had access to such huge amounts of free cash, to keep up, in an unregulated market would have meant clubs putting themselves at serious risk.



    Covid proved that even with the curbs on spending there was still a big threat of someone big going bust. As Ceferin said, the new rules address that – protect against the shocks.

  9. bigrailroadblues on

    Good afternoon all from the Queens Park Cafe. Rules be damned. I’ll spend, spend, spend!!!!

  10. A wee stir,


    MOD, hope you’re having a good day.


    Maybe just don’t take things too seriously, after all, swearing is rife with all our latest batch of comedians, so maybe a bit of a tellling off would suffice.




  11. Platini was crooked, and subsequent events suggest that he could well have been in the pockets of the big clubs, but a the time he was clear about the aims of FFP which he always saw as his project and his legacy.

  12. CHAIRBHOY on 21ST NOVEMBER 2023 1:29 PM



    Rangers were never subject to FFP. The new system came in after they went bust.

  13. Platini and UEFA were either led by the nose by the traditional big clubs or in the pockets of those clubs.



    When Platini and UEFA are being lined up as the guardians of the game, alarms bells should be ringing.



    Imagine we had a billionaire major shareholder prepared to pump hundreds of millions into Celtic. Are we seriously saying we wouldn’t want the money ? Would we care about clubs like Munich and Liverpool pontificating that our money came from a billionaire rather than tv companies ?

  14. AN DÚN on 21ST NOVEMBER 2023 1:50 PM



    “Platini and UEFA were either led by the nose by the traditional big clubs or in the pockets of those clubs.”



    The third possibility, and the one that seemed most likely at the time was that this was the case. From wiki:



    A 2009 UEFA review showed that more than half of 655 European clubs incurred a loss over the previous year, and although a small proportion were able to sustain heavy losses year-on-year as a result of the wealth of their owners, at least 20% of clubs surveyed were believed to be in actual financial peril. The reasons for this are well summarised in the 2010–12 House of Commons report on Football Governance:



    Club owners are generally over optimistic about their management abilities and vision for a club. With ample academic evidence that there is a clear correlation between squad wages and points won[a] – something which is obvious to owners – there is a natural tendency to borrow in the pursuit of success, although not all teams can be successful. There are many examples of clubs where the directors (true fans) have “chased the dream” – gambling short-term investment (or borrowing) in the hope of long-term success. The pressure on the directors of a club to invest, to sign a star player…is often immense from ordinary supporters.[7]


    Even among Europe’s elite sides, continued excessive spending has often been justified by club executives as being “necessary to keep the club competitive”. As Christian Müller, CFO of the German Bundesliga told the European Commission: “… we learn by experience all over the world [that] most club executives tend to operate riskily, tend to overestimate their chances in the Championship. This may result in disproportionate spending relative to the income some clubs generate… club executives have somehow to be protected from themselves.”[7]



    The vast majority of the overall European football debt is owed by only three of the biggest leagues: the English Premier League, the Italian Serie A and the Spanish Primera División, commonly known as La Liga.

  15. If Uefa arent Guardians of the game then who is?



    Or do we just leave it to the cheats?



    Its lazy and convenient to dismiss everyone in football administration as corrupt. Meanwhile they have to get on with actually doing something about protecting our game.



    Ceferin seems like a genuine guy. He’s addressed the companies about FFP and its restriction on trade by increasing the amount of owner-covered losses.

  16. AN DÚN



    What are our suggestions? If its as simple as unregulated business you can forget about Celtic in Europe forevermore

  17. CELTIC40ME on 21ST NOVEMBER 2023 2:00 PM



    As long as we play in Scotland and are constrained by UEFA financial regs, we will never compete at the very top.



    Under the UEFA set up of the European competitions and their curtailment of external investment in clubs, their actions only serve to cement the position of European club’s forevermore.



    Imagine telling a city fan on their way to the 1999 league two play off final that in two decades they would be Europe’s foremost club.



    That’s a dream open to all clubs. Maybe one day we’ll get that billionaire, maybe Aberdeen will and they could overtake us…



    When you cut off that possibility, then the dream is gone and football outcomes are all but set in stone.

  18. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Blunt perhaps but I have little sympathy for Everton.



    Classic case of spending what you don’t have to stay in the league …. and it worked.



    If they’d followed the rules, relegation was highly likely.



    The “impact of COVID” data they returned was the kicker.



    Miles higher than anyone else in the EPL.

  19. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Vallance was candid yesterday.



    Whitty is a spineless jelly by comparison.



    Part of the establishment.



    Part of the problem.



    I’ll be getting the popcorn out when Van-Tam gives his evidence.

  20. AN DÚN on 21ST NOVEMBER 2023 2:22 PM



    “That’s a dream open to all clubs.”



    Its not. Theres no dream there – nobody is investing a billion in Aberdeen, or any other club outside of England, Italy or Spain.



    Two clubs out of 1150 in the whole of Europe have made the jump into the elite.



    Get rid of Uefa and you’ll see a European super league 5 minutes after with no relegation. How’s that for outcomes being set in stone.

  21. AN DÚN



    Seriously, as a free marketeer what your solution? Allow unregulated spending? Watch the Huns cheat their way to titles and go bust again?



    Nothing is more certain than in a world without Financial regulations the Huns will do it again

  22. It’s a real tragedy that what was one of the most egalitarian of sports which really is accessible to all around the world becomes so manipulated.



    The leagues within Europe have such a disparity in terms of financial and political power and wealth that it has not been a meritocracy for some time.



    The irony that this played a part in thwarting David Murray’s aspirations is not lost on me though.



    It is no surprise that Murray did see the huge value in a potential exit to the championship back in 2004 even when our position in the European order was better than now. It is also no surprise the rangers chairman John McClelland agitated strongly for some form of regional conference system like that of American sport for smaller leagues. They could see the challenges and limitations we all now face. They knew it needed, other us and other leagues plus maybe other Scottish teams to engage. Sadly for me our custodians appear to have had a ‘wait and see’ brief. Hoping the winds would change.



    We have an imperfect market for sure. One which is not a fit for a club such as ours. Sadly throwing money at a better team is not the answer. That has not even worked for PSG on a huge scale or Ajax or others on a smaller scale.



    It’s a key responsibility of the board in most businesses to look at the medium to long term strategy and plan. Ours really need to step up in this regard imo. Shaping the positive future of all those outside the top 5 leagues, it used to be called the yellow group, would deliver huge value to fans, shareholders and lovers of football alike.

  23. BURNLEY78 on 21ST NOVEMBER 2023 2:56 PM



    Its a good point. Unfortunately everyone is addicted to the champions league and European football these days. It would be a huge risk to leave that behind

  24. Of God forbid we’re deprived of the opportunity of getting six goals taken of us by Bayern next season…



    The year after that we can look forward to a July qualifier in one of the stan countries…

  25. AN DÚN on 21ST NOVEMBER 2023 3:12 PM



    Instead of criticism and moaning about how things are whats your solution?

  26. What’s a free marketeer’s solution to the problem?









    Possible outcomes

  27. All we can do is be the best we can be and invest what we have wisely. I’m not in favour of closing the only possible chance we have of competing at the very top though.

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